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From DNT: Bentleyville days may be numbered?

Someone always has to try to ruin a good thing

56 Comments

Claire

about 2 years ago

I agree. I am all for free speech, but there is a time and place for everything. I really don't want to have to put up with this kind of crap at Bentleyville. These two guys are doing more to turn my family and me off to religion than anything else I can think of.

TimK

about 2 years ago

Angry grandpa in the sky will smite thee!!

adam

about 2 years ago

I am all for theoretical freedoms, as long as it doesn't make me uncomfortable or inconvenienced in any way.

vicarious

about 2 years ago

Likewise, I am annoyed by billboards.

bflannagan

about 2 years ago

A couple of things: 1. Just because someone claims they are a preacher doesn't necessarily make it so. 2. Just because someone puts the word god or Jesus in something doesn't automatically make it religion. I have seen these clowns at the Bluesfest over the years and I don't see preachers, I see harassers and haranguers. It is clear to me they have no concern for my soul or well-being. They are there to condescend and interrupt. As Bentley alluded to they are attempting to stir something up in hopes of suing somebody after someone gets fed up and kicks their ass.

Danny

about 2 years ago

"I agree with free speech but..." never ends well.

Claire

about 2 years ago

Adam, say you organized a free event celebrating, say, the anniversary of the Transistor. You urged your readers to come with their little kids. And you held the event in a public space, say the Depot. Can you say, honestly, that you would have no problem with it if two scruffy-looking and belligerent jerks entered your event with their signs -- and, of course, with the guy who accompanies them, taping everything -- and tried to engage your guests, spouting their religious beliefs? A billboard is annoying, but billboards don't follow us around and harass us -- and tape us, in the hopes of either embarrassing us or suing us.

Paul Lundgren

about 2 years ago

Religious beliefs may vary, but generally everyone in Adam's presence is scruffy looking and belligerent. For example, me.

emmadogs

about 2 years ago

I'm having trouble navigating this issue, as it isn't an "all or nothing" thing legally. The city can impose limits on these two "preachers," and the court can uphold limits, as reasonable time, place and manner restrictions. The First Amendment simply doesn't allow everyone to say anything whenever and wherever they want. So the city's "First Amendment Zone" seems legal, on its face. I don't understand why it was struck down by the federal district court. I would appreciate it if someone from the city, involved in this litigation, could explain it to us.

Ramos

about 2 years ago

So far, the main "problems" at Bentleyville have originated from one place: Nathan Bentley. Nathan Bentley doesn't like those preachers, so, apparently, the city will do everything it can to boot them out. Give me a break. Bayfront is as public as property can be, the event is supposed to be free and open to the public, and the preachers aren't advocating violence against anyone. I see them all the time at Grandma's Marathon, standing on the sidewalk with their massive cross and talking to people. What's the problem? Barring serious extenuating circumstances, you can't just decide to ban people from speaking their mind in a public park because other people don't like them. I think that's what the judge was saying. Likewise, marking off some postage-stamp-sized area in the boonies and calling it a Free Speech Zone doesn't work either. That's more like a Jim Crow Free Speech Zone. The preachers, and anybody else who chooses to express themselves at Bentleyville, should be tolerated. The fear that they will drive people away is, to me, far-fetched. It would take a lot more than a couple of scruffy evangelists to get between Duluthians and their free hats.

tamara

about 2 years ago

I will point out that this sets an interesting precedent as airports have "First Amendment Zones."

emmadogs

about 2 years ago

Ramos, I agree with you that the city can't outright ban someone from speaking in a public park, nor can the city limit speech based on the substance of what one is saying (with some extremely limited exceptions). However, the city can limit, not what the person says, but where s/he says it, or when s/he says it, on non-content based reasons, like interference with a lawful business. That's why antiabortion protesters can be limited as to when and where they protest outside of Planned Parenthood facilities. I have never been to Bentleyville, so I am clueless as to where the "First Amendment" zone was located, and as to what extent, if any, these men were interfering with a lawful business. Time, place, and manner restrictions are relatively noncontroversial in the courts, so I would appreciate some additional insight from the city, or from Bentleyville visitors, as to the specifics of what was going on.

emmadogs

about 2 years ago

Ramos, I should add that there's nothing wrong with a First Amendment absolutist, if that's your position. I just don't agree with it. I think limited restrictions on where and when a person can have her say on otherwise public property can be reasonable. Not that they are per se reasonable, just that they can be, if necessary to protect other constitutional activities (e.g. having an abortion) or to protect other lawful activity, e.g. running a business for profit.

TimK

about 2 years ago

The GOP Convention in 2004 established the precedent of "Free Speech" zones. I think most of those cases were litigated in favor of the zone concept. That being said, these two clowns are not in it for Jesus. The pope probably isn't in it for Jesus. I want freedom FROM religion. Hmmm...I might have achieved cognitive dissonance!

Ramos

about 2 years ago

Good point, Tamara. When people have to go through metal detectors and X-rays to get into Bentleyville, I'll consider the idea of a Free Speech Zone. Actually, I'll consider one right now. As Bentleyville can get enormously, ridiculously crowded on some nights, I would support establishing a Free Speech Zone on the main plaza as you enter, to enhance safety. The plaza would provide everyone with ample room to disseminate their respective propanda, and for audiences to gather to listen if they wished. It would reduce congestion in the main display itself, where the paths would be reserved for the shuffling herd. There I go again: solving everything for free. How much has the city spent fighting this awful threat so far?

Ramos

about 2 years ago

So Nathan Bentley threatens to pull Bentleyville out of Duluth unless the city gets rid of two preachers. My feeling about Bentley is that his issues with the city are only going to get bigger over time. Maybe if the city set down its ground rules early and firmly, instead of constantly scrambling to meet Bentley's demands, a civil, professional atmosphere could be maintained at Bentleyville into the future.

Ramos

about 2 years ago

Also, let me say that I am a huge fan of recording one's own encounters with the public.

Danny

about 2 years ago

More importantly, does anyone "tape" things anymore?

in.dog.neato

about 2 years ago

I am heavily in favor of Fifteenth Amendment zones in public places.

adam

about 2 years ago

The Depot is not a public space. Airports are not public places. This recent court decision considers a free, open-to-all event at a city park a public space. If I hosted an event in a "public space," as long as they weren't being obstructive, I could care less. Worst case: free publicity. Corporations (and governments) know perfectly well how to curtail speech for their advantage. I don't understand what the problem is here. Charge a dollar, with plenty of vouchers for low-income, donate money to Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank or PAVSA or Duluth Parks or whatever, after paying costs of charging money. Don't even bother to fence the place in.

Danny

about 2 years ago

I blame the free hats.

Claire

about 2 years ago

When I was in grad school at Chapel Hill, we were entertained at lunch time by the "pit preachers." They'd stand in a plaza between the bookstore and the dining center and preach. If one wasn't in the mood to be hollered at, one ate one's bag lunch elsewhere. I'm all for these preachers staying in one place and preaching, per Ramos's suggestion. Adam, I was just saying the same thing to Mr. Claire last night. Charge people a quarter, a dollar, to enter Bentleyville. Great minds think alike. I used to work for a publishing house in the Building for Women -- (BTW, someone very close to Ramos worked there too, for the same company). I know I got pretty damn fed up with the jerks outside the building screaming at women between the ages of 12-40 entering the building for any reason. I hate a low tolerance for that kind of harassment, having endured it every Tuesday and Thursday for five years.

Ramos

about 2 years ago

I haven't heard any objections to the preachers that haven't been totally frivolous. They all boil down to people disagreeing with the preachers' message and not wanting to be bothered by it. That's what people are willing to violate the Constitution for? Jeez, I'd like to have your comfortable life. I'm sorry that a few particular soundwaves moving through the air disgruntle people. If it really bothers you, there's always the option of staying home. Or you can do what the vast majority of your fellow-citizens would do: Ignore it. If the free-speech limitations ever take hold at Bentleyville, it will be illegal to walk around Bentleyville holding a sign that says, "I have a sign." I got kicked out of the mall once for doing something similar. But just so long as nobody's bothered by anything, I guess that's okay. We wouldn't want to make any smudges on the blank slate of anybody's happiness.

Ramos

about 2 years ago

On the Fourth of July, we all get together to celebrate our freedom. For the rest of the year, we try to get rid of it.

lojasmo

about 2 years ago

Didn't bother to read the article, but I think i can safely say two things. 1. Fuck those guys. 2. Bentleyville is an eyesore.

lojasmo

about 2 years ago

Yup, my initial statements were correct.

lojasmo

about 2 years ago

Also, Ramos isn't familiar with the constitution about which he is wont to pontificate. "Congress shall" Let's unpack that before we bloviate.

baci

about 2 years ago

Seems to me that the people going to Bentleyville aren't the ones that need the word of the "lord." Why aren't those "preachers" doing the real work of "saving" souls and bringing their "ministry" to those more desperate? Mmmmm... it's been suggested that perhaps the "upright citizens" who que up at the Last Place on Earth ... Hey, we could call it "Spicelyville" and then the toddlers forced to be in line (in the cold) might benefit from the message that the placard preachers foist on everyone at Bentleyville. How about that Ramos? Hmmm? Cant you pull some strings instead of thumping your chest? You could join them! All of you could toke up some of Carlson's latest loophole synthetic from Pakistan, it's called "Mommy cant buy presents (or food) because she just smoked away our welfare money rolled up in the Constitution."

Les F

about 2 years ago

+1 baci, Thats the best idea I have heard so far. The "alleged preachers" would have a real task saving people at LPOE.

baci

about 2 years ago

+1 Chad Lyons, he popped it on FB, I merely brought it to PDD.

Ramos

about 2 years ago

People who are insecure in their own beliefs are often the first to try to stifle other people from expressing theirs. Fortunately, I am blessed with intellectual tolerance. Because my own beliefs are firm, I can hear all sorts of things and not be bothered. If anyone would like lessons on how to tolerate their fellow citizens, I will be happy to offer a class. Let me know.

TimK

about 2 years ago

BS. I am very secure in my beliefs. I also think my beliefs are superior to ignorant, intolerant preachy a-holes.

Ramos

about 2 years ago

That is what many insecure people say.

baci

about 2 years ago

@TimK, Agreed! The cowardly shock-troops of religious prosthelytization using Bentlyville as a platform for their street theater are abusing a great local celebration and Ramos is pulling them in his tedious monologue of perceived injustice. Ramos, by now you should know I'm highly secure in my beliefs. So secure that I continue to challenge you, an otherwise seemingly cogent, reasonable and intelligent person, in yours. BTW, I declare truce with you Ramos .. soon I hope to soon share a beer in peace and jocularity.

Ramos

about 2 years ago

It's funny to me that people can get so riled up by a couple of guys saying stuff. The incessantly merry Christmas music blaring at Bentleyville is a lot more irritating to me than evangelists. I might be supportive of the city establishing an Annoying Christmas Music Zone across the street. I was never at war with you, Baci, so it's hard to declare a truce. I'll be happy to chat.

TimK

about 2 years ago

Preachy a-holes ain't just the two goons harassing folks at Bentleyville. Preachy a-holes are everywhere!

Claire

about 2 years ago

Ramos, I am pretty damn secure in my beliefs. And one of my beliefs is that anyone who thinks his/her rights trump mine is an asshole. Like Baci said above, why aren't those two freaks harassing a captive audience at LPOE?

vicarious

about 2 years ago

Repeating what others have already said! In a scruffy manner! (PDD's "controversy" posts are a great spectator sport / sitcom. You know exactly what the regular cast will say, but yet it's still funny!)

Ramos

about 2 years ago

Actually, Claire, if it's a case of their right to evangelize at Bentleyville versus your right to not hear anything irritating, their rights do trump yours. The Constitution grants us the right to free speech; it does not grant us the right to irritation-free bubbles. Again, I really am amazed at how riled up people get over small, even insignificant, matters. If I come across something in the world that annoys me, I ignore it. It's easy!

baci

about 2 years ago

"I ignore it" ... Hahahahaha

vicarious

about 2 years ago

Cue the laugh track.

in.dog.neato

about 2 years ago

Can't we all just hit a bong? err ... get along?

c-freak

about 2 years ago

Jesus was Jewish!!

Les F

about 2 years ago

If I am around for the PDD 10th Birthday party I will buy you all a 'beverage of your choice' (within reason).... always have the smart one that wants a $50 shot of Scotch.

vicarious

about 2 years ago

Jew-"ish", or full-on Jew? Because there is a definite distinction.

Bret

about 2 years ago

One needs to articulate a better argument then "it's against the Constitution." Helping escaped slaves was "against the Constitution." That doesn't mean it wasn't the right thing to do. Freedom of expression is important, but let's argue the substance, and the nuance, rather than cite the Constitution as some sort of trump card.

TimK

about 2 years ago

Exactly! Why oh why do we fool ourselves into thinking that there is some sort of fair play balance between reason and bullish*t?

Danny

about 2 years ago

"Freedom of expression is important, but..." Again, never ends well.

TimK

about 2 years ago

Breaking news! Steve Jankowski is a registered sex offender! I will buy a beer for the first person who exercises their First Amendment Freedom with a sign that says "Registered Sex Offender" with an arrow and gets a photo standing next to the "preacher."

Tom

about 2 years ago

Jankowski's lawyer told the Northland's NewsCenter that the city is trying to defame his client because they lost in court. No, Mr. Kellum, I'm pretty sure your client did that himself when he put his hand inside a 13-year-old's underwear.

Ramos

about 2 years ago

Maybe that's why he fears God.

in.dog.neato

about 2 years ago

His placard really should read "Fear Gen Pop!" Pedophiles aren't treated too kindly in prison.

DaVe

about 2 years ago

A child-molesting preacher! Imagine that. Though even they have free-speech rights, I suspect his gig is up.

Claire

about 2 years ago

Now we know why he wants to hang out somewhere where lots of teenagers congregate... Ugh.

Les F

about 2 years ago

This just in: According to Duluth Mayor Don Ness's Facebook page, Bentleyville will be staying at Bayfront Festival Park for three more years. Bentleyville to stay at Bayfront

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